street of Packenham
Pakenham (including Nar Nar Goon, Tynong,
Bunyip and Garfield)
Growing residential suburb near the
Pakenham is the administrative, industrial and
residential centre of an attractive shire
located in the foothills of the Dandenongs, 64
km south-east of Melbourne via the Princes
Highway at an elevation of 31 metres above
sea-level. Grazing, dairying and fruit-growing
are practiced in the district.
Prior to European settlement the Woiwurung
Aborigines occupied the area. The first whites
in the district were those bound for Gippsland
who crossed Toomuc Creek at Pakenham Upper. It
was at this crossing that Michael and Catherine
Bourke established the Latrobe Inn, also known
as Bourke's Hotel and the Princes Highway Hotel.
This became a stopping place for Cobb & Co
coaches. A regular overland mail service from
Melbourne to Gippsland was established in 1848,
passing through this area.
Pakenham was proclaimed a town in 1861 and it
was formed as a riding of Berwick shire in 1868.
Pakenham became the headquarters of the shire in
1901 and a shire hall was eventually built in
Nar Nar Goon, 11 km east of Pakenham, was
part of the Mount Ararat run, taken up in 1844.
A timber mill and tramway operated there later
in the 19th century.
5 km further east is Tynong (from an
Aboriginal word meaning 'many fish').
Timbergetters cutting sleepers for the railway
line worked the forest hereabouts in the 1870s
and the first settlers took up land in the late
1870s once the railway had arrived. Early local
industries included the distillation of
eucalyptus oil, grazing cattle and timber
milling. A quarry was established here after
World War I to supply granite for the Shrine of
Remembrance in Melbourne.
Another 8 km east is Bunyip (originally known
as 'Buneep') which was first mentioned in 1847
when a route was surveyed from Dandenong to
Buneep, to facilitate traffic to Gippsland. The
'Buneep Buneep' cattle run was in existence by
the early 1850s and the Buneep township was
proclaimed in 1857. The original townsite had an
hotel and was located north of the present
townsite. The construction of a new road in the
1860s saw the old inn and settlement abandoned
and the New Bunyip Hotel was built in 1867.
Development occurred but the passage of the
railway line further south again in the late
1870s saw the townsite moved to its present
location. It prospered initially as there was no
railway bridge over the Bunyip River and so the
western section of the Gippsland line terminated
here, making it a major changing place for
passengers and goods. Moreover, in the 1890s,
Bunyip was located at the landward end of the
main drainage works associated with the Koo-wee-rup
swamp. Thus the Bunyip railhead was used as the
point of departure for the men and materials
working on the project. The upshot was the
selection of allotments in the township and the
farmlands emerging out of the reclamation works.
Garfield, 4 km west of Bunyip, was named
after US president, James Garfield, who was
assassinated during his first year of office, in
1881. It was previously known as Cannibal Creek,
after the Cannibal Creek agistment lease, taken
out in 1845. It emerged in the 1860s as a
stopping place for the east-bound coach service.
The Pig and Whistle Hotel was established and
the railway arrived in 1877, facilitating the
expansion of the timber industry with tramways
connecting the main line at Garfield to the
sawmills and loggers' camps in the Black Snake
Ranges to the north. The Cannibal Creek State
School opened in 1886. A brick and pipeworks
opened in 1890. As with Bunyip, the reclaimed
swampland on the northern side of Westernport
Bay opened up new areas for farming, thus
encouraging local settlement and development.
After the turn of the century a bank, Methodist
church, baker's, newsagency, butchers, other
storekeepers and a public hall appeared on the
townsite. After World War I primary production
stepped up and the business and shopping centre
expanded although a drastic bushfire destroyed
much of the area in 1926.
Things to see:
Historical Society Museum
The Berwick-Pakenham Historical Society has a
display of items pertaining to local history.
They are located in a room adjoining the library
in John St and are open by prior appointment
only, tel: (03) 5943 2271.
Mariah Hill Alpaca Ranch
Mariah Hill Alpaca Ranch is one of Australia's
largest such farms, featuring 200 alpacas on 100
acres. There are guided tours of the 1842
homestead with its 33-cm walls. Sections of the
cottage garden date back to the 19th century.
There is a new wallaby enclosure, a nursery,
tearooms, picnic areas with barbecue facilities,
a gift shop and hayrides on the weekends. The
ranch is open from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. daily
(it is best to ring first if you are interested
in visiting on Monday or Tuesday), tel: (03)
To get there head east of Pakenham along the
Princes Highway for 4 km and turn left into Mt
Ararat Rd North. Mariah Hill is at no.125
Truleen Downs Alpaca Stud
Truleen Downs is located 10 km north of Pakenham
at 940 Toomuc Valley Rd, Pakenham Upper. There
are guided tours of the operation and a gift
shop. The stud is open to the public on a daily
basis, tel: (03) 5942 7417.